The Fiat 500 “Cinquecento” is a rear-engined, four seat, small city car that was manufactured and marketed by Fiat Automobiles from 1957 to 1975 over a single generation in two-door saloon and two-door station wagon bodystyles.
Launched as the Nuova 500 in July 1957, as a successor to the 500 “Topolino”, it was an inexpensive and practical little car. Measuring 2.97 metres (9 feet 9 inches) long, and originally powered by a 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 was still 24.5 centimetres (9.6 inches) smaller than Fiat’s 600, launched two years earlier, and is considered one of the first purpose designed city cars. In September 1968 Fiat put on sale the 500 L or Lusso (tipo 110 F/L), a more richly trimmed and better appointed version of the standard 500 F. The 500 L remained on sale until 1972, when the new Fiat 126 was introduced.
Perhaps the most obvious new feature of the 500 L were tubular guards protecting the front bumper and the corners of the rear one. As a result, the car was about 6 cm (2.4 in) longer than the 500 F at 3,025 mm (119 in). Other model-specific exterior items were a new Fiat badge at the front, redesigned hubcaps, chrome plastic mouldings covering the roof drip rails, and bright trim around windscreen and rear window. Inside the dashboard was entirely covered in black anti-glare plastic material instead of being bare painted metal, and was fitted with a new trapezoid instrument binnacle replacing the round one used on all other 500 models. The steering wheel was black plastic with metal spokes. The door cards—upholstered in the same pleated pattern leatherette used on the seats—carried redesigned and relocated door handles and new door pockets. More storage space was provided in the form of a tray on the centre tunnel, which like the rest of the floor was covered in carpet rather than rubber mats. Except for radial instead of bias ply tires, from a mechanical standpoint the 500 L was identical to the coeval 500 F. This is an original right hand drive car, unmolested and ideal for a concours restoration. With prices for Classic Fiat 500’s in the UK now as high as £40K, this rare little car would make a great investment.